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Hearing aids - your questions answered

Here are some of the questions people ask us about hearing loss.

If we haven't answered your questions here, ask the Amplifon hearing aid audiologist at your local branch, phone our Contact Centre team or email us.

How do I choose the right company to buy a hearing aid from?

How much do hearing aids cost?

Do you offer any support once I've purchased my hearing aids from you?

How long does it take to get my hearing aid?

Do hearing aids just amplify all sounds?

What's the difference between analogue and digital hearing aids?

Why do most people wear two hearing aids?

Will hearing aids restore my natural hearing?

What will I experience when I first wear hearing aids?

Should I wear my hearing aids at night?

Can hearing aids make my hearing worse?

Why are hearing aids that look the same different in price?

Which are the best hearing aids to buy?

Should I consider buying hearing aids by mail order or via the internet?

Are the in-the-ear aids advertised really as small as they appear?

Is it true that anyone is allowed to dispense hearing aids commercially?

How can I tell if someone is authorised by the Health Professions Council to dispense hearing aids?

Is there any advantage in buying hearing aids from a large national company or should I go for a local independent supplier?

I've tried hearing aids before and they didn't work. Why was that?

Can I try on some hearing aids and see whether they help?

If I wear a hearing aid everyone will know I have a hearing problem, won't they?

What styles of private hearing aids are available?

Are private hearing aids expensive?

How long does a hearing aid last?

How can I protect my hearing aids against damage or loss?

Do all hearing aids need batteries, and are they expensive?

 How do I choose the right company to buy a hearing aid from?

The key to choosing the right company is to ensure that:

  • The hearing aid audiologist is registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). The HCPC regulates private hearing aid audiologists' training and conduct, and handles complaints. All Amplifon hearing aid audiologists are fully qualified and registered with the HCPC 
  • A free hearing test and free lifetime Aftercare are included. At Amplifon we offer a comprehensive free lifetime Aftercare programme to ensure you continue to receive the maximum benefit from your hearing and your hearing aids.

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How much do hearing aids cost?

We offer a wide range of hearing aids from the worlds leading manufacturers at prices to suit everyone's budget. The cost of a hearing aid depends mainly on the type of hearing loss you have and the variety of different situations that your hearing aid will need to cope with. The more varied the situations and lifestyles, the more sophisticated the hearing aid's technology needs to be. At your hearing assessment we will advise you on the various options available to you and the most appropriate level of technology required for your individual hearing loss and lifestyle. 

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Do you offer any support once I've purchased my hearing aids from you?

Amplifon's free Lifetime Aftercare programme looks after your hearing aids for life. This unrivalled programme of support includes a regular assessment and evaluation of your hearing, expert help and advice, demonstrations of new hearing aid technology to ensure you continue to get the most out of your hearing aids. 

Once your hearing aids have been fitted, our hearing aid audiologist will arrange your programme of free Lifetime Aftercare to make sure you are getting the maximum benefit from them and they continue to work at maximum efficiency. The hearing aid audiologist will also advise you on how to take daily care of your hearing aids to maintain their performance and what to do when batteries need replacing.

During the regular six monthly Aftercare appointments we offer expert help and advice, new technology demonstrations and a 5 Star Service check which includes:

  • Cleaning or replacing tubing and adjusting your hearing aid contacts
  • Cleaning the hearing aid casing and microphone duct
  • Checking for acoustic feedback
  • Checking your hearing aid performance
  • A free pack of hearing aid batteries

We will also assess your hearing on a regular basis to ensure your hearing aids continue to give you the best possible hearing improvement.

Also see:   Free Lifetime Aftercare 

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How long does it take to get my hearing aid?

Normally non-customised hearing aids are fitted within one week and custom aids are fitted within two weeks of your hearing assessment. All our hearing aids are selected and programmed individually to meet your specific hearing requirements and this can take between one to two weeks dependent upon the type of hearing aids.

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Do hearing aids just amplify all sounds?

Almost all hearing aids are designed to amplify sounds selectively so that they amplify the sounds that are more difficult to hear. Hearing aids that use digital technology produce more accurate amplification that can be tailored to your individual needs. 

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What's the difference between analogue and digital hearing aids?

Digital hearing aids have largely taken the place of analogue ones because they offer far better sound quality and clarity. They have a tiny computer inside which processes sounds and this makes it possible to customise them very precisely to suit each individuals hearing loss.

Many digital aids can be programmed with different settings for different sound environments; for example, one programme for a quiet living room and another for a noisy restaurant. 

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Why do most people wear two hearing aids?

Usually people have a hearing loss in both ears, so it is a common misconception that only one hearing aid is necessary to assist with hearing problems affecting both ears. Just as with your eye sight, if both ears have less than normal hearing, then the maximum benefit can only be attained if you use two hearing aids. This is especially important if your hearing problem is most noticeable in noisier situations.

Your brain's hearing system also helps you perceive space and depth, and helps you balance. Wearing only one aid not only significantly reduces the brain's ability to hear and understand but also affects your ability to perceive space, depth and direction. So to obtain maximum benefit, two hearing aids are needed.

When you wear two hearing aids, you find that:

  • Listening is more comfortable and less stressful because when both ears work together you need less amplification and a lower volume setting to hear clearly. Your brain can process the information more effectively. 
  • Sounds heard by both ears sound more natural and are easier to understand. If you only wear a hearing aid in one ear, sound can appear flat or dull and speech may be unclear. You may need to turn your head to hear when a person is speaking, or ask them to sit on your 'good side'. 
  • Hearing clearly in both ears allows you to detect the direction that the sound is coming from. So you won't appear rude by accidentally ignoring someone speaking to you on your unaided side and you know where alarm sounds are coming from - which could be critical for your personal safety! 
  • If you're in a busy restaurant or at a party where lots of people are speaking, it's easier to pick out the voice of the person you want to listen to.

Over time the ear without a hearing aid may suffer from 'auditory deprivation', resulting in even greater hearing difficulty and problems understanding speech. So wearing two hearing aids, carefully adjusted by your hearing aid audiologist to work together, will be better. 

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Will hearing aids restore my natural hearing?

Although it is not possible to restore your natural hearing, hearing aids allow you to hear better. Even people who have normal hearing experience some difficulty in noisy situations and, although no hearing aid can restore your natural hearing completely, wearing hearing aids will almost certainly improve your hearing significantly. 

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What will I experience when I first wear hearing aids?

As your hearing loss will probably have been gradual, over the years you will have become used to not hearing properly many of the sounds of life, like traffic noise, the fridge, leaves rustling or birds singing. When you start wearing hearing aids, these sounds will reappear so you need to get used to ignoring the sounds that you don't want to hear - just like you used to. By wearing your hearing aids as much as possible, you can re-educate your brain to do just this. Wearing your hearing aids will also help you recognise where sounds are coming from and learn the best settings for different situations.

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Should I wear my hearing aids at night?

Hearing aids are not normally worn in bed at night.

To help in other situations we stock a range of products that are specifically designed for people with hearing loss, such as alarm clocks, . If you are worried that you won't hear your smoke alarm, ask the fire prevention officer in your local fire brigade for advice about smoke alarms for people with hearing loss.

Also see:   Helping you hear around the home

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Can hearing aids make my hearing worse?

Properly prescribed and fitted hearing aids definitely cannot make your hearing worse, because they do not physically alter the state of your hearing mechanism. Also, hearing aids are preset to a safe maximum level. Once your hearing has begun to deteriorate, it will usually continue to do so over time - but hearing aids are designed to help you make the most of your remaining hearing to make sounds clearer and sharper. You may find that louder sounds that you haven't heard in quite some time may surprise you, so you will need to acclimatise yourself to this.

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Why are hearing aids that look the same different in price?

Although the hearing aid casing may look the same, it's the technology inside that really determines the price. The more sophisticated the technology, the better the hearing aid can cope with many different situations and lifestyles - and this increased sophistication means that the technology is more expensive to produce.

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Which are the best hearing aids to buy?

There are many brands of hearing aid produced by reputable international manufacturers. However the most important issues in determining which hearing aid is right for you are the results of your hearing test, your lifestyle, the style of hearing aid that you prefer and your level of dexterity. Based on these four key factors, your hearing aid audiologist will recommend the hearing aids that he thinks are most appropriate for you to ensure that they will satisfy your individual needs and that you will feel comfortable and confident wearing every day.

As a specialist hearing aid retailer Amplifon offers a range of market leading products from the worlds leading hearing aid manufacturers, so we will always be able to offer you a choice of the very latest, high performance products to suit every budget.

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Should I consider buying hearing aids by mail order or via the internet?

The sale of hearing aids by mail order or the internet is not regulated so there are virtually no safeguards to ensure your best interests. Also, it is important to remember that the effectiveness of your hearing aids relies on them being properly prescribed and fitted by a fully registered and qualified hearing aid audiologist to ensure they meet your individual needs.

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Are the In-the-ear (ITE) aids advertised really as small as they appear?

Yes, generally speaking. The size and shape of the aid may vary with the dimensions of each person's ears, but advances in digital technology now mean that hearing aids really are very discreet and almost "invisible".

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Is it true that anyone is allowed to dispense hearing aids commercially?

No, only people who are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council and therefore meet their standards can prescribe and dispense hearing aids in the private sector.

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How can I tell if someone is authorised by the Health Professions Council (HCPC) to dispense hearing aids?

All our hearing aid audiologists are authorised by the HPC who issue an authorisation card to each hearing aid audiologist. You can ask to see this card or, if you prefer, contact the Health & Care Professions Council or check on their website which holds a list of registered hearing aid dispensers.

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Is there any advantage in buying hearing aids from a large national company or should I go for a local independent supplier?

Choosing Amplifon means you will receive the very highest levels of care from fully qualified, highly trained professionals who are all HCPC registered. We offer a wide range of products incorporating the very latest, high performance technology in different price ranges backed by an unrivalled, comprehensive, regular Aftercare programme, wherever you live in the UK. We will service your hearing aids regularly to maintain their performance and check your hearing to ensure your hearing aids continue to provide you with the maximum benefit.

Also see:   Our product range

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I've tried hearing aids before and they didn't work. Why was that?

It may be that you tried an out-dated type of hearing aid or one that wasn't suitable for your needs. Today's digital hearing aids are a huge improvement on the old analogue ones; they're much more comfortable and can be programmed to suit your individual hearing loss.

Features such as directionality and noise reduction allow you to hear what you want whilst cutting down background noise. When you are fitted with new hearing aids it is important to allow time to get used to them. Once you do, you will probably find your life is changed for the better - for good.

Also see:   Digital hearing aids      How do hearing aids work?

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Can I try on some hearing aids and see whether they help?

Of course - this will give you some idea of how much hearing aids could help you and how it feels to wear them. But depending on the type of hearing aid your hearing aid audiologist recommends, the demonstration may only give you a general idea of how much hearing aids could help. For example, many hearing aids are made individually so they would improve your hearing much more than you could experience with a sample aid during your hearing consultation.

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If I wear a hearing aid everyone will know I have a hearing problem, won't they?               

It's no stigma to have a hearing problem, any more than it is to need spectacles. Around the age of 50 the proportion of people with a hearing loss begins to increase sharply and 55% of people over 60 are deaf or hard of hearing. However, if you don't feel comfortable wearing visible hearing aids, there are excellent in-the-canal aids available that fit right inside the ear and are almost invisible. Some people actually treat their hearing aids as fashion accessories and choose one of the futuristic modern designs and/or colours available. Usually it's the effects of not wearing hearing aids that advertise a hearing problem!

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What styles of private hearing aids are available?

The main types of aid are behind-the-ear, in-the-ear and in-the-canal aids. All three types are small, discreet, and often available in colours that tone with an individual's skin or hair. In addition, hearing aids are now available that automatically adjust to different sounds so you don't need to adjust them manually, or they can be used with a remote control to help people with dexterity problems such as arthritis. For wearers who want to link their hearing aids wirelessly to their TV, music centre or mobile phone, new Bluetooth enabled hearing aids take sound directly from a wide range of electronic sources, providing clear, sharp sound direct to your hearing aids.

Also see:   Types of hearing aids      Our product range

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Are private hearing aids expensive?

Private hearing aids cover a wide range of prices depending on the style and complexity of hearing aid that you need to suit your hearing loss and your lifestyle. Although most digital hearing aids may be able to improve your hearing, the more expensive hearing aids incorporate advanced technology which makes them easier to use, better able to cope with differing environments and situations and increased functionality to integrate with other electronic equipment around your home.

Your hearing aid audiologist will be able to recommend the style and price of hearing aids that best suit your hearing loss and lifestyle - but if you consider that a single hearing aid worn for five years can cost you just 27p a day, it's a small price to pay for all the benefits that better hearing can bring to your daily life.

Also see:   Types of hearing aids      Our product range

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How long does a hearing aid last?

Your hearing aids will last for years. But even if your hearing aids are still functioning perfectly, your hearing may have changed since you first had your hearing aids and so they may no longer be giving you all the improvement you now need.

In addition, technological advances in hearing aids mean that new hearing aids could significantly improve your hearing or could make them much easier for you to use. As part of your free Lifetime Aftercare programme, your hearing aid audiologist should reassess your hearing on a regular basis to ensure your hearing aids are still giving you the best available improvement in your hearing.

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How can I protect my hearing aids against damage or loss?

To ensure you have peace of mind, when you buy a hearing aid from Amplifon, you not only receive your manufacture's warrenty but we also give you a year's guarentee free, under the National Hearing Aid Guarantee Scheme.

This covers your hearing aids against:

  • Accidental loss or damage
  • Repairs
  • Re-shells
  • Faults due to wax or moisture
  • Ear moulds
  • Receivers
  • Malfunction and breakdown for one year from the date of purchase 

After the first year you can extend the warranty for up to four years if you wish, for an additional cost. If your hearing aid is covered under the warranty, repair and parts are free. If your warranty has expired, your hearing aid audiologist will be able to advise you on what is required and will obtain a free estimate for the cost of the repair from the manufacturer.

Also see:   Protect your hearing aid

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Do all hearing aids need batteries and are they expensive?

All hearing aids need batteries, but the cost of running your hearing aids is likely to be a few pence per day, depending on the type of aid and battery size. Some hearing aids are available with rechargeable batteries and a charging unit.

Also see:   Hearing loss - your questions answered

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Source: Facts and figures on deafness and tinnitus:  Action on Hearing Loss